The Rider on the White Horse
Thoughts on Rev. 19:13
By Jonathan Mitchell

13. and having been clothed (or: cast around) with a garment having been dipped in (immersed; [other MSS: sprinkled with]) blood (or: dyed with blood), and His Name is being called "The Word of God (God's Logos; The Message from God; The Idea which is God; The Expression about God)."

The first clause may be an allusion to Lev. 8:30, the consecration of the priests:

"Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar and spattered it on Aaron, on his garments and on his sons and on his sons' garment with him; so he hallowed Aaron, his garments and his sons and his sons' garments with him" (CVOT).

Another possible allusion is to the grape harvest, which can have a dual application: the blessings of new wine from the vine, and a metaphor for judgment - the crushing of the grapes. The OT reference is Isa. 63:1-7,

"Who is this, suddenly birthing Himself (or: coming to be) alongside from out of the midst of Edom [CVOT reads: humanity; from Heb.: adom], [with] garments dyed red, from Bosor [Heb.: vintage]? - in this manner, seasonably ripe and timely in His set equipment (or: lovely, fair and beautiful in a kingly/priestly long robe/apparel), in bodily force, with strength? - I am thoroughly laying it out and progressively discoursing concerning eschatological deliverance (a rightwising unto the Way pointed out, with the justice, fairness and equity of righted covenant inclusion) and a rescuing (a restoring, saving) deciding (or: judging). Why are Your garments dyed red, and Your items of apparel [dyed] as from a trodden wine trough full or [what] continued being trampled?'
"[Yahweh answers] 'Being filled from continued trampling down - and no man from among the nations (ethnic multitudes) continues being with Me - I trampled them down in My rushing emotion, and then I crushed them in pieces as soil and brought down their blood into the ground. For you see, a Day of Reward (giving or paying back in turn; recompense) came upon them, and a year of liberating release continues being present, alongside (at hand).
Then I looked around, and there was no helper; and so I paid attention and reflected on [the situation], and no one continued taking hold on the other side, to assist. And so My arm rescued them and drug them to safety. Then My rushing emotion and passion took a stand upon [the situation] and attended [to it], and in My internal swelling fervor (or: natural impulse; anger) I trampled them down, and brought their blood into the ground.'
"I remembered the Mercy of, and from, the LORD (= Yahweh) - the excellences of, and gracious acts from, [the] LORD (= Yahweh) - within all the things in which He continually rewards us and repeatedly pays us back. [The] LORD (= Yahweh) [is] a good Decider (Evaluator; Judge) for, and in the midst of, the House of Israel; He repeatedly brings upon us, and provides for us, corresponding to His Mercy, and according to the abundance of His eschatological Deliverance (rightwising treatment of justice which accords to the Way pointed out)" (LXX, JM).

As we consider the mixed message of this passage, we see that Yahweh's decisions bring both judgment and blessings, the latter always following the former. A possible correlation to the red garments in Isa. 63:1, above, is that part of the covering of the Tabernacle was constructed of rams' skins dyed red (Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7 - 39:34). We will consider Paul's connection between garments and the Tabernacle (Tent), below. The prophet wondered about and questioned what he saw, yet knew that what he was laying out for us was Yahweh's ultimate, eschatological deliverance and righting of situations. The treading of a wine trough was the whole purpose for having a vineyard, but the harvest meant a cutting off (from the vine) and a trampling of the grapes. The Day of Reward was the reward of the harvest - a blessing.

Eschatologically it meant a "year of liberating release." But the cup of blessing (1 Cor. 10:16) comes from a casting into the wine trough. The old must be harvested; the new comes with another season. But all the same, Christ's followers are called to take up their execution stakes and follow His path - and for the same reason. Our crushing sheds forth His Lifeblood. Others drink the blessing, just as we did. It is a continuous journey. But the prophet realized that Yahweh "repeatedly brings His mercy upon us" (cf Rom. 11:32). The OT pattern that we observe was intended for, and resulted in, good (Rom. 8:28). For more on this metaphor, see the discussion on 14:18-20, above, and on vs. 15b, below.

In discussing this verse with my wife, Lynda, she mentioned Jesus' first sign, in Jn. 2:1-11. There He passed over the normal process of crushing grapes, then the time in the wineskin for fermenting the juice. The Water of Life became the best wine. So here we should look for the new wine of the new covenant, where old metaphors are transformed to show forth the glory of God in the Face (character) of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6). Lynda also mentioned the need for new wineskins (Mat. 9:17): we need new creation in Christ, with its corresponding new world view and its new applications of old metaphors, as we saw with Jesus and Paul. Jesus symbolized the cluster (Isa. 65:8) that was crushed to bring us the new wine, He has, in the picture in this verse, been bringing forth new wine in and for others by walking through us in His wine trough. Wine is a symbol of celebration (Jn. 2:1-11) and of bringing joy (Ps. 104:15), which in turn is a figure of God's reign (Rom. 14:17b). The cup of the wine in Mat. 26:27-29 represented His life-blood of the new arrangement (covenant) and the celebration of His Father's reign.

We find Paul using the metaphor of being "clothed," in 2 Cor. 5:1-4,

"if our house, of the tabernacle which is pitched on the land, would at some point be dismantled (or: that whenever our house, which is this tent upon the earth, should be loosed down), we constantly have (continuously hold; presently possess) a structure (a building) forth from out of the midst of God.... we are continuously groaning, utterly longing and constantly yearning to fully enter within and to CLOTHE upon ourselves (to dress upon ourselves) our dwelling-house (habitation) - the one [made] out of heaven (or: the one from, or made of, atmosphere).... to fully enter within and to ADD CLOTHING upon ourselves, to the end that the mortal (or: this mortal thing) may be drunk down and swallowed under (or: by) The Life." Cf 1 Cor. 15:54b.

With these metaphorical insights from Paul, let us apply them to Christ, Who was symbolically clothed with the Life of the Spirit (the Anointing to be the Messiah), or as Dan Kaplan says, "He was clothed with the Father: with His Nature and Character," so that when we see Him, we see the Father (Jn. 14:9). That was also the clothing of being humanity's Chief Priest (Heb. 7-9), that would have been "spattered" with His own blood, as He sprinkled our hearts (Heb. 10:19-22).

The Name that is being called has an apocalyptic significance, just as did the other names that were called, in 11:8, 12:9 and 16:16, above. The Figure bearing this Name can be understood from the five functions of the genitive case that are on offer:

a) The Word of God - a reference to all the uses of this phrase in the OT
b) God's Logos - bringing to mind Jn. 1:1, 14, and the multiple implications which logos contains
c) The Message from God - Christ is the Message, the Good News, the announcement of the goal of the ages, and the way to victory
d) The Idea which is God - Christ is what God had in mind, from the beginning: the Human expressing what God IS
e) The Expression about God - Christ expresses and reveals God's character and personality.

This name also points back to vs. 9, above, and 21:5, below, while connecting to the "the faithful Witness" of 1:5, along with 6:9-10, and 20:4. Verse 15, below, implies His Word in action, and connects that metaphor with that of our picture here, in vs 13.

(An excerpt from the upcoming book: The End of the Old and the Beginning of the New)

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